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Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-20-2013, 12:55 PM
It looks like you can now buy ukuleles that look "sort of" like mine at a reduced price! (There is no mention of how they sound!)
Hurry down to your local Ayers dealer and put your order in now!
Below are just two examples from their crackerjack creative department. (In case you need help deciding which are the real deal, mine are the ones with the floral backgrounds.)

It's an odd world we're living in today. 54790547915479354794I'm just saying......Sheesh!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-20-2013, 12:57 PM
And apparently I can even spell imitators! Sorry, can't edit titles I guess.

Dan Uke
06-20-2013, 01:02 PM
Chuck

What a dilema as your pics are circulated all over the internet so taking them all down is impossible. I hope they don't copy mind!!

Newportlocal
06-20-2013, 01:03 PM
I understand why you have been uber secret about the Schmollo designs now.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-20-2013, 01:05 PM
I understand why you have been uber secret about the Schmollo designs now.

Yes, I hope to get a good run of the Schmollos built and release them all at the same time. Shhhhhh. Gotta keep a step ahead you know.

mkatz
06-20-2013, 01:05 PM
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but what a pain in the a..

Mitch

dkcrown
06-20-2013, 01:06 PM
I guess they didn't bother to read your warning on the top of your Gallery pages.

And I guess they didn't copy the Phoenix, yet.

OldePhart
06-20-2013, 01:12 PM
And apparently I can even spell imitators! Sorry, can't edit titles I guess.

Heh, heh. I figured you spelled it that way on purpose...

Tigeralum2001
06-20-2013, 01:14 PM
This absolutely sucks! Intellectual property... Will it ever be respected?

OldePhart
06-20-2013, 01:17 PM
How sad. I think the saddest people though are the poor fools who buy crap like that. I mean, yeah, we'd all like to strangle the Chinese ripoff "artists" who churn out crap like that but at the end of the day people expect them to have no scruples whatsoever - it's been embedded in their culture and fostered by their government for generations now.

So, the ones I find saddest are the poor wanna-be suckers who should know better and should have more scruples but think that they're going to impress somebody by owning that trash. Well, come to that, I guess they will impress us...but not in any positive way.

John

Kanaka916
06-20-2013, 01:17 PM
I think the title is very fitting . . .

PedalFreak
06-20-2013, 01:19 PM
Best way to support Chuck, as well as other uke companies that have this happen, is to not support the imitation uke companies.

pakhan
06-20-2013, 01:30 PM
"Good artists copy great artists steal" but this is really just a poor facsimile.... would you be doing anything Chuck?

seeso
06-20-2013, 01:58 PM
Wow, that is messed up!

Doc_J
06-20-2013, 02:08 PM
Ayers Guitars even features a copy of Chuck's "Tree Frog" inlay as a story on their website about their Custom shop.
Very sad.

Wicked
06-20-2013, 02:10 PM
But do they have radiused fret boards?

Skinny Money McGee
06-20-2013, 02:27 PM
How sad. I think the saddest people though are the poor fools who buy crap like that. I mean, yeah, we'd all like to strangle the Chinese ripoff "artists" who churn out crap like that but at the end of the day people expect them to have no scruples whatsoever - it's been embedded in their culture and fostered by their government for generations now.


Kind of like all the fake harley davidsons you see now. They all try to copy the look and feel of the HD. I've even seen people pull the badges off the tanks of yamahas and put Harley badges on, and wear Harley leather jackets.

Sparkle
06-20-2013, 02:38 PM
Mr. Bettah, do you have the aesthetic positions of your design under copyright? I'm not sure how something like this is protected or if it can be but usually the aesthetic elements can be.

You could always send a polite letter requesting that their custom shop branch out into less closely derivative waters.

Patrick Madsen
06-20-2013, 02:38 PM
This is the main reason I don't buy Chinese Ukes of any sort. I hate 'em,yes, I said hate 'em. I have 0 zilch respect for the chinese (stealers)makers. All I have to say Chuck is, Grrrrrrrr. My condolences.

Dan Uke
06-20-2013, 02:49 PM
There are obviously legit Chinese manufacturers so I don't want to lump them together but definitely boycott Ayers.

sukie
06-20-2013, 02:53 PM
Wow. I am dismayed. They better not mess with my flamingo.

dkcrown
06-20-2013, 03:05 PM
http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h368/dkcrown1/001-4.jpg (http://s1106.photobucket.com/user/dkcrown1/media/001-4.jpg.html)

dnewton2
06-20-2013, 03:13 PM
What not link? Just kidding.

I feel for you. There is no limit to what some people or companies will do to make a buck.

mm stan
06-20-2013, 03:13 PM
Yes Boycott Ayer until they stop selling these ukes....Holy Crap
Like Susan Said...they bettah not copy my ukes....isn't her hubby a lawyer???
Yes Chuckie they cannot copy your amazing sound though for sure now or a hundred years from now...I just hope they don't own or borrowed the ukes you made to copy them...:(
There is only one Chuck Moore and nobody can copy that... :)

hawaii 50
06-20-2013, 03:17 PM
I believe Ayers is a Australian Guitar Co. trying to break into the American Guitar Industry..i have seen their full page adds in Acoustic Guitar Magazine and someone on the UU was defending them a while back(when they stole Chuck's Dragon Inlay)

I will do my best to pass the word around what kind of Company Ayers are...first by emailing their US distributors..and give them my opinion of their business practices..they are doing exact copies...what a joke!!

and I really like Australian people .... but this puts a spin on that now...seems like Ayers has given Australia a black eye with the Ukulele/guitar community...

my 2 cents

Nickie
06-20-2013, 03:22 PM
Well, they are kinda pretty, I guess, but not a very good copy. I do wonder what they sound like, but I wouldn't have one...I don't like imitations...donesn't show much imagination...I am gonna ask all my friends to boycott Ayers. Chuck, you build the best looking ukes I've ever seen, I bet the build doesn't even compare with yours, and if I ever hit the jackpot...

Pueo
06-20-2013, 03:22 PM
Wow that is pretty lame. I had once read that Rolex and Omega have stopped even trying to prosecute the folks who make copies of their products, as the intended customers will know the difference and the cheap crap does not really prevent its intended customers from buying one.

Chuck, you pour your heart and soul into dreaming up beautiful designs and then someone just xeroxes it. What a shame.

hawaii 50
06-20-2013, 03:28 PM
I subscribe to Acousitc Guitar Magazine...and they are planning on doing an Ukulele Magazine 4 times a year soon
I am going to let them know what Ayers is doing and ask them to stop selling space in their magazines to Ayers...

all I can do is cancel my subscription if they don't

again my 2 cents

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-20-2013, 03:29 PM
http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h368/dkcrown1/001-4.jpg (http://s1106.photobucket.com/user/dkcrown1/media/001-4.jpg.html)

Haha! That's beautiful Dana. I may have to pirate that cartoon from you.

BTW, I know nothing about the manufacturer in question. I've never heard of them until this incident. I don't know if their work is good or bad. I'm not asking for a boycott of anything so extreme. By doing so you may be missing out on owning a fine instrument, I really don't know. I'm just letting you know what the situation is. I get a LOT of hits on my web site from China and Taiwan. This was inevitable. These are just two examples of my work being copied, I know there are other builders who have "borrowed ideas" from my work. It's bound to happen and I can't get crazy over it. What I do think is comical though is that there is no effort to change the designs in the least amount.
BTW Len, if I'm not mistaken, Ayers lists their company as being in Taiwan. The "Ayers" name may have fooled you into thinking it is Australian based.

pcspud
06-20-2013, 03:33 PM
In defence of us Aussies, The company is using the Ayers/Uluru name after the iconic Ayers rock but i don't think the ukuleles are actually made in Australia -- I looked at the site and the home address seems to be in Taiwan !!!

hawaii 50
06-20-2013, 03:35 PM
Haha! That's beautiful Dana. I may have to pirate that cartoon from you.

BTW, I know nothing about the manufacturer in question. I've never heard of them until this incident. I don't know if their work is good or bad. I'm not asking for a boycott of anything so extreme. By doing so you may be missing out on owning a fine instrument, I really don't know. I'm just letting you know what the situation is. I get a LOT of hits on my web site from China and Taiwan. This was inevitable. These are just two examples of my work being copied, I know there are other builders who have "borrowed ideas" from my work. It's bound to happen and I can't get crazy over it. What I do think is comical though is that there is no effort to change the designs in the least amount.
BTW Len, if I'm not mistaken, Ayers lists their company as being in Taiwan. The "Ayers" name may have fooled you into thinking it is Australian based.


Sorry Chuck..I thought the first time there was a thread about your Dragon inlay someone from Australia chimed in and said they were an Australian Company...

black eye to me...I really enjoy all the Australian people I have met...Sorry Mate!

Dan Uke
06-20-2013, 03:36 PM
The "Ayers" name may have fooled you into thinking it is Australian based.

Aye(r) Aye(r) Captain! They sound like a bunch of pirates, which they obviously are!

hawaii 50
06-20-2013, 03:37 PM
In defence of us Aussies, The company is using the Ayers/Uluru name after the iconic Ayers rock but i don't think the ukuleles are actually made in Australia -- I looked at the site and the home address seems to be in Taiwan !!!



Thanks for setting me straight...now I can love Australian's like I always have....

mm stan
06-20-2013, 03:46 PM
Nothin beats the true craftmanship, finish, sound, tone, and inlay of a Chuckie Moore Ukulele...NOTHING
There is only one Chuckie and he and his work is second to none......BTW I play both of mine daily and they sound amazing and look and feel great...:)
To me the Best of the Best Top ukulele and builder EVER!!!!
I bet Chuckie will blow that cartoon picture up a 100x and make a poster to hang in his shop.....:):)

Sparkle
06-20-2013, 04:23 PM
If it ever does start to bother you, make sure you have all your IP properly registered. It's your best protection. If it ever becomes a straight knockoff, remember our Customs agency actually has an entire unit devoted to investigating and stopping that kind of crime.

And just because it makes me snicker: there is also a section if the FBI known as the Internet Police. They do not comment on Internet boards, alas. They leave the monitoring to the NSA.

MGM
06-20-2013, 04:26 PM
These are not made in Taiwan but Vietnam I do believe

Eyeguy
06-20-2013, 04:34 PM
These imitations are truly the upmost in flattery. Companies have been copying Martin guitars for probably close to a century, and there is a reason for that. I'm not suggesting it's moral, ethical, or even legal, depending on the provable intent to defraud, but imitators do not want to copy second rate products, they want to copy the best of the bunch. To be sure, most knowledgeable folks do not want an inferior imitation, even if they can't afford and/or find the real deal. As well, folks who can not or may not ever be able to afford the real deal, or who might be able to spring for the real deal but choose not to simply based on not believing any uke is worth that kind of dough, well those folks are more than likely not going to be your customers anyway. In essence, I don't see your business taking any kind of real hit here, just your artistic and creative license, which is certainly no small thing in my humble opinion.

costaricadave
06-20-2013, 04:36 PM
Wow... That is crazy! They didn't even try to change it up a little. That my friend is NOT Moore Bettah! haha

Pura Vida
Aloha

mm stan
06-20-2013, 04:43 PM
Wow... That is crazy! They didn't even try to change it up a little. That my friend is NOT Moore Bettah! haha

Pura Vida
Aloha
Looks like line for line copy to me.....

OldePhart
06-20-2013, 05:01 PM
In defence of us Aussies, The company is using the Ayers/Uluru name after the iconic Ayers rock but i don't think the ukuleles are actually made in Australia -- I looked at the site and the home address seems to be in Taiwan !!!

Yeah...it's pretty common. Like Behringer trying to sound like a German engineering company when they're Chinese lock, stock, and barrel. :rollseyes:

John

slackkey007
06-20-2013, 05:05 PM
Ayers builds guitars and ukuleles in Vietnam. They build the Big Island Ukulele Company ukes, Moku ukes, and a few others, too.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-20-2013, 05:05 PM
These imitations are truly the upmost in flattery.

I beg to differ. I am not in the least bit flattered. I am not Martin Guitars. I build a few dozen ukes a year and spend 70 hours a week at it. When I am not in the shop I am thinking of new and creative ideas. Creating and coming up with new stuff is by far the hardest part of what I do. The building, finishing and all the rest is relatively easy and can be learned by many people. Ideas though remain a challenge to me and I lose lots of sleep over it. Ask anyone for whom I've built a custom uke for, it ain't easy.
What bothers me most is that when I sell an ukulele with original artwork on it, the customer is told that the artwork is original and will not be duplicated. Part of what the customer is paying for is the uniqueness of the instrument. (There are other simple motifs that I do repeat and I make no claim that it is or will be one of a kind.) My business will not suffer at all from this, But my customers are the people who are getting the short end of the stick. The dragon uke was the first one to be copied and I was made aware of it several months ago. The customer and I worked on the design for almost two years with countless (many hundred) emails, exchanging ideas, sketches and carefully choosing the materials. He has as much of his energy into it as I have of mine. I feel badly for him. I seriously doubt if he feels flattered.
I haven't seen Tom on here for a while but he got the uke with the tree frog on it. I wonder how he feels?

Sparkle
06-20-2013, 05:17 PM
As one artist to another, man, I'm sorry. It's like watching someone steal a bit of your soul. :-(

It doesn't diminish your (or your collaborators) creativity or artistry, and I don't think it diminishes your ukulele's uniqueness. I can see the difference in the photos. There's just a clarity of detail; a copy cannot match that.

So sorry it happened. :-(

hawaii 50
06-20-2013, 05:27 PM
These imitations are truly the upmost in flattery. Companies have been copying Martin guitars for probably close to a century, and there is a reason for that. I'm not suggesting it's moral, ethical, or even legal, depending on the provable intent to defraud, but imitators do not want to copy second rate products, they want to copy the best of the bunch. To be sure, most knowledgeable folks do not want an inferior imitation, even if they can't afford and/or find the real deal. As well, folks who can not or may not ever be able to afford the real deal, or who might be able to spring for the real deal but choose not to simply based on not believing any uke is worth that kind of dough, well those folks are more than likely not going to be your customers anyway. In essence, I don't see your business taking any kind of real hit here, just your artistic and creative license, which is certainly no small thing in my humble opinion.




I have not yet seen a Martin Guitar with a beautiful Dragon Inlay on it..
Moore Bettah Ukuleles are in a class by themselves...yes Chuck I also feel bad for the owner/co-designer of the copied Dragon Inlay..

mds725
06-20-2013, 05:31 PM
As a cartoonist, writer and songwriter, I under stand the pride in ownership of an idea. I once saw a cartoon idea of mine end up in a B.C. or Wizard of Id comic strip years later (yeah, those guys make fun of pirating but they've used other people's ideas too). It's just disheartening to see someone take something that came out of your own unique creative head being executed by someone else. Of course, anybody who knows anything about ukuleles knows that the point of getting one is not to have it look like a Moore Bettah but sound like crap, but my response has always been "how dare you make money off of something that was MY idea!" Ironically, one can't copyright an idea under U.S. copyright laws, only the execution of an idea.

I'm not sure I'll ever be lucky enough to own a Moore Bettah ukulele, but if I do, I'd cherish it mostly for it's incredible sound and for the thought and heart that went into making it a unique instrument and not just because it's all blinged out. I can't imagine anyone ever feeling that way about these imitations.

Sparkle
06-20-2013, 05:38 PM
Ironically, one can't copyright an idea under U.S. copyright laws, only the execution of an idea.

Good. If that were the case, only the largest companies would be able to have ideas. They'd be zealously prosecuting/litigating everyone for merely thinking about an idea they own.

I'm blessed as an artist (by passion, I've never made enough to make my living from it, yet) to work around the IP part of US law. From what I've seen and learned, genuine control usually goes to the deepest pockets, not usually the artist or even the originating company.

keliiyama
06-20-2013, 07:05 PM
I've played a custom Ayers ukulele before. It had a Cedar top with Brazilian B/S. It was honestly one of the better ukes I've played. And the craftsmanship was spot on. They are indeed built in Vietnam, though the one I played was custom built. I'd honestly say that uke was as nice as a premium Koolau.

But sorry Chuck, you got robbed. My mouth hit the floor when I saw the pics. My mind can't believe it. I understand people copying the shape of the body, and proportions... but the art work? The art work is personal to the artist and commissioner. Must be surreal to see it huh Chuck.

It would be like someone dressing up as my wife and trying to act like her. FAIL! We might even have to watch out when we post our pics here... someone might be lurking...

bborzell
06-20-2013, 07:10 PM
Very interesting, if not a bit offensive. I have been operating under the assumption that Taiwan laws were considerably more respectful of western copyrights than those in mainland China and Hong Kong. Maybe I am off base on that.

But, the reality is that more protective laws don't mean much if they are not enforced and I have no idea how a Taiwan court might look at blatant copies such as these. Maybe the only fair recourse is to let folks know and maybe Karma will have a righting effect.

It is also interesting to note that the US distributer (Flea Circus Music) doesn't list any of the offending Ukes on their site. Maybe they get it. That would be nice of them. Or, maybe they simply have not gotten around to listing them.

Notwithstanding the fact that it is unclear whether these instruments otherwise play and sound good, the inlays appear to be rather poor copies of Chuck Moore's designs. Kind of like buying a Picasso copy that was done with crayons.

tangimango
06-20-2013, 07:16 PM
after seeing this, now everything is made in china. So Ayer is Taiwan company , copyeid by the Chinese built in Vietnam? LOL

Uncle Leroy
06-20-2013, 10:46 PM
I would engage legal counsel immediately, if not sooner. I am sorry you have to go through this Chuck. Your ukes are simply breathtaking.

pakhan
06-20-2013, 11:11 PM
Hi folks,

Let me help clear things up a little.... I know of Ayers from their involvement with guitars.

Ayers is a Taiwan company. the Australian link is that Aussie luthier Gerard Gilet was contracted to design and train the craftsmen. The factory itself is in Vietnam. I understand there were issues with payment for consulting fees, but I can't confirm that.

The problem is that although Chuck is entitled to pursue a claim against Ayers, the cost, the distance and the hassle is likely to be considerable. Furthermore, a company with deeper pockets can drag things out for a long period of time. Things are similar in the US when fighting against a large corporation except now there are differing legal languages, codes etc.

One way is a cease and desist legal letter which although doesn't mean much may end up being a reasonable deterrent.

The other way is to use social leverage. For small firms and individuals vs. big overseas companies, a complaint and post on facebook which is taken up by many is many a time enough to hurt the corporation enough to get them to stop.

Terence

Sparkle
06-20-2013, 11:27 PM
That's why I mentioned Customs. If one finds that the instruments are possibly being a bit more mass manufactured than that--really any activity that gives the possibility of criminal liability for importing a knockoff--customs can get involved. Anything that has to be imported in America falls under their purview, and they do have the resources to seize shipments, prosecute and etc; this is more effective, even for companies like Vuitton.

ETA: talking to an IP lawyer would be great if you can afford it. There are arts organizations that may help. If not, maybe it's time to do a build for an IP lawyer. :-)

pakhan
06-20-2013, 11:56 PM
Suddenly I suspect a lot of IP lawyers will appear Sparkle... :P

Mattyukaholic
06-21-2013, 12:59 AM
There is no comparison - it is obvious from the photos. If you look at the pictures Chuck posted the difference between the two frog headstocks is night and day. The details and 'crispness' is there in Chuck's. The Ayers one just looks cheap IMHO.

Eyeguy
06-21-2013, 01:34 AM
Chuck, I am on your side here. When I said these copies were the highest form of flattery, I was not suggesting that there was anything good about this whole scenario from any standpoint, or that you should in any way feel "honored" that someone else had chosen to exploit your artistry and hard work for their own benefit. All I was saying is that it is precisely because your work is in a class by itself that these folks chose to imitate it. That's not supposed to make you or your customers feel better, just simply stating the rationale behind the practice, which has been going on since man first began creating consumer based products of any kind, whether that be music, fine art, jewelry, or now ukes.

OldePhart
06-21-2013, 03:04 AM
Suddenly I suspect a lot of IP lawyers will appear Sparkle... :P

I worked with a young engineer who went to night school, passed the bar, and is now a patent attorney...does that count? ;)

Seriously, though, for something like this I think that applying social pressure, as others have mentioned, is most likely the most effective thing. Sometimes we in the uke community are a little too nice. I think if/when we encounter someone with one of these monstrosities at a club meet or what have you that we should let them know what they have and what we think of it. The PETA folks have drastically reduced the market for fur mostly by nothing more than social pressure. Make it "very uncool" to own one of these ukes and the practice will stop, or at least decline.

John

coolcow
06-21-2013, 04:08 AM
Oh my...this is just wrong.. i'm going to try passing the words around to my uke buddies in HongKong & Taiwan.

Freeda
06-21-2013, 04:10 AM
I worked with a young engineer who went to night school, passed the bar, and is now a patent attorney...does that count? ;)

Seriously, though, for something like this I think that applying social pressure, as others have mentioned, is most likely the most effective thing. Sometimes we in the uke community are a little too nice. I think if/when we encounter someone with one of these monstrosities at a club meet or what have you that we should let them know what they have and what we think of it. The PETA folks have drastically reduced the market for fur mostly by nothing more than social pressure. Make it "very uncool" to own one of these ukes and the practice will stop, or at least decline.

John
How do you know that people know when they have a knockoff?
I would be very upset if I knew nothing of Moore Bettah, bought a uke I thought was pretty, and later was treated shabbily because of it.

Educate. Don't shame.

pakhan
06-21-2013, 04:26 AM
How do you know that people know when they have a knockoff?
I would be very upset if I knew nothing of Moore Bettah, bought a uke I thought was pretty, and later was treated shabbily because of it.

Educate. Don't shame.

I partway agree- one way is to point out they are not original or authorised, the focus is on the company as opposed to the purchaser.

Skitzic
06-21-2013, 04:34 AM
How do you know that people know when they have a knockoff?
I would be very upset if I knew nothing of Moore Bettah, bought a uke I thought was pretty, and later was treated shabbily because of it.

Educate. Don't shame.

This. The people ripping off Chuck's work are in the wrong, not the people buying the uke (who don't know it's been ripped off). How would you feel if you showed up to your first uke jam excited about the ukulele and the pretty one you scored and have someone call you out for buying a rip off?

Educate. Don't shame the innocent. (because it deserves to be said again)

Sparkle
06-21-2013, 04:37 AM
How do you know that people know when they have a knockoff?
I would be very upset if I knew nothing of Moore Bettah, bought a uke I thought was pretty, and later was treated shabbily because of it.

Educate. Don't shame.

I agree with your sentiments, and if anyone is wondering, here are some ideas.

A part of what I do is work on education programs for lawyers (both for the business and firms) who are dealing with this issue. I've heard lots of suggestions, but these are the best.


Threads like this.
Information on the Mo Bettah site about copies of designs--no naming of names but a warning that it happens.
If you see an amazing price on a custom uke, dig deeper. This is a major way of selling fakes into the market. It's such a great deal that no questions are asked.
Do notify the business when you see potential copies. The internet is big and if Tiffany's doesn't have enough eyes to keep the fakes off ebay, how could a one man shop?
In this case, since this isn't a straight knock off, it's up to Mo Bettah Ukuleles to decide if they want to seek an injunction against the seller. Buying a uke and looking at the construction, etc, would be a necessity to see how close a copy. The closer the copy, the more likely some criminal liability may exist. You'd really want an attorney to parse out the nature of the details copied--so long as you've registered trademarks and dress, sought copyright for the design, etc.


If this venture fails, and these ukuleles have been made, they may hit the market as Mo Bettah Fakes--note unheard of.

If someone sells you a knock off AS a Mo Bettah uke (or Benefit makeup or an Otterbox), report it to the IPR at http://www.stopfakes.gov.
Report fake goods to the manufacturer. They decide if they will pursue legal action.
Report fakes to the seller, a frequent occurence on Amazon & Ebay.

bborzell
06-21-2013, 04:38 AM
Or, we could mobilize the discontent reflected here in 60 and counting posts by suggesting that we all drop Ayers a line and express our disapproval of their apparent decision to copy original art designs. After all, it is possible that these instruments were created by a company employee who decided to snatch Chuck's designs entirely on his own. Perhaps the company management does not know where these designs came from. Stranger things have happened.

I'll put my money where my mouth is and send Ayers an email today.

UPDATE: OK, I just returned from the Ayers USA site where I left a contact note. I decided to go to the US company because that's where I live and US operations are both familiar with and possibly more sensitive to copyright issues.

silveraven
06-21-2013, 05:03 AM
Or, we could mobilize the discontent reflected here in 60 and counting posts by suggesting that we all drop Ayers a line and express our disapproval of their apparent decision to copy original art designs.

Those with Facebook can pop by their pages if you want:

Ayers Guitar (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ayers-Guitar/108785899157524)
Taiwan Uluru Ukulele (https://www.facebook.com/TaiwanUluruUkulele)

Both pages are mostly in Chinese though.

Gadzukes!
06-21-2013, 05:36 AM
Sad, but not surprising. Moore Bettah ukes have achieved a "boutique" status, where the demand is far greater than the supply. When this happens, knockoffs are usually the result.

All this talk about lawyers is wishful thinking, there's really nothing he can do against an overseas company. Getting the customs department involved would only work if they were selling them as Moore Bettah ukes, which they aren't. Your best bet is to simply add a warning to your website about fakes (include the images), and move on.

KoaDependent
06-21-2013, 05:56 AM
This is their narrative of how the Tree Frog uke came to be (translated through Google, not me):

Ayers received a custom ukulele order from Mr. Tai in Taiwan. He is a doctor, a musician and a nature lover!

He chose a Premium Koa ukulele as base and requested a “tree of life” inlay on the fingerboard. According to Mr. Tai, this is to remind himself that the meaning of life is to “work hard and play hard”. On the headstock lays a delicate Red-eyed tree frog inlay. Mr. Tai loves tree frog and wants it to look “alive”. Ayers spent several weeks to combine abalone, white shell and wood piece, trying hard to catch all the details of the frog. However, we still felt that it lacked something. In the end, Ayers put a red crystal as the frog’s right eye and we knew that we made it. We have made it “alive”.

While we handed the ukulele to Mr. Tai, he said “God…You made it. This is a brilliant ukulele. I love it.” Looking at the smile and surprise on his face, we have been awarded the best prize.

Wonder if the artist who copied Mr. Moore's design recognized the irony of the tree representing hard work.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-21-2013, 06:21 AM
This is their narrative of how the Tree Frog uke came to be (translated through Google, not me):


Wonder if the artist who copied Mr. Moore's design recognized the irony of the tree representing hard work.

"While we handed the ukulele to Mr. Tai, he said “God…You made it. This is a brilliant ukulele. I love it.” Looking at the smile and surprise on his face, we have been awarded the best prize."

I teared up with emotion when I read that. What a beautiful story! hahaha

hawaii 50
06-21-2013, 06:26 AM
This is their narrative of how the Tree Frog uke came to be (translated through Google, not me):


Wonder if the artist who copied Mr. Moore's design recognized the irony of the tree representing hard work.



Lost in Translation....

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-21-2013, 06:30 AM
Or, we could mobilize the discontent reflected here in 60 and counting posts by suggesting that we all drop Ayers a line and express our disapproval of their apparent decision to copy original art designs. After all, it is possible that these instruments were created by a company employee who decided to snatch Chuck's designs entirely on his own. Perhaps the company management does not know where these designs came from. Stranger things have happened.

I'll put my money where my mouth is and send Ayers an email today.

UPDATE: OK, I just returned from the Ayers USA site where I left a contact note. I decided to go to the US company because that's where I live and US operations are both familiar with and possibly more sensitive to copyright issues.

Great idea. I too feel that their "creative department" is probably a single guy who spends a lot of time poring over my web site looking for an easy way out.

KentSantaBarbara
06-21-2013, 06:31 AM
These people are stealing from our friend Chuck, and they are stealing from our friends who own these beautiful ukuleles. Chuck: this must be a terrible blow. MB Owners: This must make you angry. And I'm sorry for all of us. Because we all loose. This will make Chuck less likely to display his awe-inspring art, for fear of it being copied. And it will make the proud owners of these functional art pieces less likely to proudly display the beauty. And for those that love to look at these MB pieces of functional art, we will not be able to see them. Chuck what can we do for you? I can not imagine that a sole ukulele luthier has the economic resources to stop or even inhibit these thefts. I remember Chuck saying that his retirement package is his wood pile. Chuck is, as we all know, a wonderful and amazingly talented man. What can we do? I don't have the financial resources to help, but i can write (email) these thieves. I can tell the ukulele stores that carry these fakes what i think of them. I would appreciate UU members forwarding email addresses or website URL's to me, so i can respond with a directed response to these thefts. I doubt it will do any good. Because the thieves that are doing this already know that it is wrong. But, it may help the retailers that sell these ukes to know that we don't appreciate their business and will boycott all that they do, maybe that is how we can help. Chuck and MB Owners: I'm sorry this is happening.

hawaii 50
06-21-2013, 06:37 AM
I sent Acoustic Guitar Magazine an email also..as they are advertising Ayers Guitars in their Magazine...and I have a monthly subscription..
they also have a New Ukulele Magazine every quarter...

I asked them to stop advertising Ayers Guitars for reasons above...

Bill Mc
06-21-2013, 06:53 AM
Kind of like all the fake harley davidsons you see now. They all try to copy the look and feel of the HD. I've even seen people pull the badges off the tanks of yamahas and put Harley badges on, and wear Harley leather jackets.

Not me - I ride a Triumph. No need to imitate anything.

haole
06-21-2013, 07:09 AM
It's a shame that trying to take action against something like this is so expensive, time-consuming, and impractical because it's going on in another country.

Forgot where I heard this, but apparently these come out of the same factory as Big Island/Honu ukes.

olgoat52
06-21-2013, 07:12 AM
Wow. I am dismayed. They better not mess with my flamingo. Better pull your pics off the internet Sukie. This just really sucks. Right down to the splayed toes on the frog..

olgoat52
06-21-2013, 07:20 AM
I think that is a lot of baloney. We are not talking about the shape of the instrument (copying martin) we are talking about copying the artistic renderings on the instrument. So it is more equivalent to defending someone who counterfeits a Remembrant..


These imitations are truly the upmost in flattery. Companies have been copying Martin guitars for probably close to a century, and there is a reason for that. I'm not suggesting it's moral, ethical, or even legal, depending on the provable intent to defraud, but imitators do not want to copy second rate products, they want to copy the best of the bunch. To be sure, most knowledgeable folks do not want an inferior imitation, even if they can't afford and/or find the real deal. As well, folks who can not or may not ever be able to afford the real deal, or who might be able to spring for the real deal but choose not to simply based on not believing any uke is worth that kind of dough, well those folks are more than likely not going to be your customers anyway. In essence, I don't see your business taking any kind of real hit here, just your artistic and creative license, which is certainly no small thing in my humble opinion.

olgoat52
06-21-2013, 07:47 AM
FWIW I sent an email to them at guitars@ayersmusic.com to complain about this practice.

seeso
06-21-2013, 07:53 AM
FWIW I sent an email to them at guitars@ayersmusic.com to complain about this practice.

Right on, man.

hoosierhiver
06-21-2013, 07:56 AM
FWIW I sent an email to them at guitars@ayersmusic.com to complain about this practice.

ditto, chalk up another angry email sent.

Skinny Money McGee
06-21-2013, 08:00 AM
FWIW I sent an email to them at guitars@ayersmusic.com to complain about this practice.

Lol,, I sent a email to them too

buddhuu
06-21-2013, 08:02 AM
And apparently I can even spell imitators! Sorry, can't edit titles I guess.

Title edited, Chuck.

Sorry to see you're being ripped off. Totally not cool. I wish them failure.

hawaii 50
06-21-2013, 08:05 AM
Title edited, Chuck.

Sorry to see you're being ripped off. Totally not cool. I wish them failure.


Right on Rick...

AndrewKuker
06-21-2013, 08:32 AM
We got a few from that company about 5 years ago and chose no. This is blatant but still irrelevant for your business. They sell Gucci purses at the swap meet for 10 times less but it's not affecting sales at Ala Moana. But I know you aren't worried about money. They could have offered you money for previous design and you would have said no. For many humans money has become their god. They're crazy. Making fake Pono's in China. ?? whaaa.. It's like how I get spam everyday from people that need a bank account to put their half million because...
zombies, cockroaches, could you please try to control your sleaziness for a moment..we're still human here and you're irritating us

kvehe
06-21-2013, 08:44 AM
Another email sent to Ayers

bbycrts
06-21-2013, 08:47 AM
Chalk up another disgusted email to Ayers/Uluru.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-21-2013, 08:58 AM
I do not wish this company failure by any means. On the contrary, I wish them success with their own work. I just wish they wouldn't use mine and claim it as their own. My sole intent in posting this was to let you know that this stuff goes on. It's not the first time things like this have happened and it won't be the last.
I appreciate everybody's support! :)

Kauai808
06-21-2013, 10:13 AM
People buying those knock off ukes probably weren't in the market for a Moore Bettah anyway. I don't think you are going to lose much market share to this Ayers company. But I totally understand your concerns. Good luck my friend! Aloha.

Paul December
06-21-2013, 10:31 AM
Because of this thread, I bet Ayers has received as many purchase inquiries as complaints.

Kmetzger
06-21-2013, 10:55 AM
Might have the most impact to write to the folks in charge. So here you go:

The founder of Ayers is: chengfa.huang@gmail.com

The head of Ayers in the USA is apparently Mark Kreuzer: markk@ayersguitarusa.com

Keith

hawaii 50
06-21-2013, 10:56 AM
People buying those knock off ukes probably weren't in the market for a Moore Bettah anyway. I don't think you are going to lose much market share to this Ayers company. But I totally understand your concerns. Good luck my friend! Aloha.


Wow..again, it has nothing to do with the money..
they are stealing someone's designs(hard work) and calling it there own...

come on bruddah,you can see that right?

hmgberg
06-21-2013, 01:26 PM
I was a custom home builder in a former life, many years ago. I designed a house that became very popular in our area. I used an artist's rendering to advertise it in newspapers. Not only did one of my competitors copy the house, they actually clipped the rendering and used it in their ads in the same papers. My lawyer couldn't do anything about them copying the house (they made some very slight changes), but they had to get their own rendering done.

Later, I became an artist and a teacher. A good friend of mine, another art teacher on the same faculty, was teaching his students some of his techniques. It should have been no surprise to him that their paintings ended up looking a lot like his. He didn't get upset until several of them started winning prizes and getting shows.

I was a little creeped out when another, now ex, friend of mine was so flattering of my work. I didn't expect that he would copy it so successfully. I'm still pissed about it years later, but only because I felt betrayed and made a fool of by someone I thought was my friend.

The truth is, and I would say this to Chuck as well, they can only copy what you have already done. Your work has evolved over time and out of an internal need for self expression. The copyists will always be at least one step behind. Furthermore, anything they produce is likely to be soulless and a superficial semblance of what you do.

ukegirl13
06-21-2013, 02:39 PM
Oh man! I can't believe that! Sorry Chuck, I guess I could be next. ;( They better not copy my girl! I guess you could see it as a compliment...NOT!

ukegirl13
06-21-2013, 03:15 PM
ditto, chalk up another angry email sent.

Yep, me too!!!!

Nickie
06-21-2013, 03:17 PM
Wow, I have been considering a Moku Ukulele. I really like Mike, the owner of Moku, but after this....hmmmmm...I DONT like what Ayer is doing here....geez, Chuck...

Flea Circus
06-21-2013, 03:36 PM
Hi,

I am the US distributor of Uluru Ukuleles. First, I can tell you that we do not and never have stocked the models that are described in this thread. I have communicated with my contacts at Ayers and have been assured that these were built per request as one-offs for a customer. The photos of these ukulele designs will be removed from the website. The company apologize for any misrepresentation that occurred. It was not intended.

Steve
FleaCircusMusic.com

BlackBearUkes
06-21-2013, 04:22 PM
Hi,

I am the US distributor of Uluru Ukuleles. First, I can tell you that we do not and never have stocked the models that are described in this thread. I have communicated with my contacts at Ayers and have been assured that these were built per request as one-offs for a customer. The photos of these ukulele designs will be removed from the website. The company apologize for any misrepresentation that occurred. It was not intended.

Steve
FleaCircusMusic.com

The fact that they were built at all, without regard to the original design by Chuck, tells everyone here what kind of company Ayers is. The company apologizes for any misrepresentation that occurred? Well what was intended?

sukie
06-21-2013, 04:32 PM
Hi,

I am the US distributor of Uluru Ukuleles. First, I can tell you that we do not and never have stocked the models that are described in this thread. I have communicated with my contacts at Ayers and have been assured that these were built per request as one-offs for a customer. The photos of these ukulele designs will be removed from the website. The company apologize for any misrepresentation that occurred. It was not intended.

Steve
FleaCircusMusic.com
So they will just not publicize making the knock-offs, huh? Doesn't say they will cease and desist. Just that they wouldn't publicize them. Scum.

Nickie
06-21-2013, 04:33 PM
Sukie...I want a uke just like yours....no kidding, but it has to be a real MB....

mds725
06-21-2013, 04:50 PM
Hi,

I am the US distributor of Uluru Ukuleles. First, I can tell you that we do not and never have stocked the models that are described in this thread. I have communicated with my contacts at Ayers and have been assured that these were built per request as one-offs for a customer. The photos of these ukulele designs will be removed from the website. The company apologize for any misrepresentation that occurred. It was not intended.

Steve
FleaCircusMusic.com

Maybe when a customer comes in with a photo of, or an idea about, a custom ukulele, someone should ask a few questions about whether that idea was stolen (by the customer) from another builder. It's actually hard for me to believe that the copies could be so precise in details without the client having presented a photo and having said "can you make one of these?" The frog knockoff was not the product of some guy coming in and saying something as vague as "please put a tree frog on the headstock." For that headstock to look so much like Chuck's headstock, that client provided details, almost necessarily in the form of a photo or a very detailed drawing. So I'm not buying the mea culpa. For those one-offs, the company had to have known it was "borrowing" someone else's idea.

Frankly, if I were in the business of making "one-offs" with specific inlay designs for a customer who came in with a photo or some other rendering of a detailed and specific idea, I would ask that customer to sign an agreement in which he or she expressly represented that the ideas for the design are his or her own, that the ideas were not taken from any existing ukulele made by anyone else, and that a breach of this representation legally entitles the company to sue that client for damages.

didgeridoo2
06-21-2013, 04:51 PM
I teared up with emotion when I read that.
Lets be honest Chuck, you were upset knowing that Ayers came up with idea of using a red crystal and you didn't.

And, I'd bet my Moore Bettah that the person who got the Ayers "dragon knock off" was a right handed player.

sukie
06-21-2013, 04:56 PM
Sukie...I want a uke just like yours....no kidding, but it has to be a real MB....

It is an incredible ukulele. But -- here's the thing: to my knowledge, there should never be another ukulele quite like it. It was made especially for me. It's an extremely personal ukulele. No one should have one.
I can't imagine how Chuck feels. What a violation.

mm stan
06-21-2013, 05:05 PM
I Guess Mr Moore would like to hear appoligies from Andy Ayers and the Taiwan Company owner and the builder in Vietnam....how would they even pay back Mr Moore for what they have done.
Yes the frog inlay were copied line to line, makes me wonder if they had the original Uke....even the bird on their Facebook page looks a similiar look...Piracy of ideas no matter what kind in other
business have been dealth very harshly in big corporations... will they get the ukes in question build back and be destroyed and cease and desist copying any more of Mr Moore designs...I hope they
will contact Mr Moore and work out the details....Can you imagine if Mr Moore was Microsoft or Apple.....

Nickie
06-21-2013, 05:17 PM
It is an incredible ukulele. But -- here's the thing: to my knowledge, there should never be another ukulele quite like it. It was made especially for me. It's an extremely personal ukulele. No one should have one.
I can't imagine how Chuck feels. What a violation.

I know Sukie, I can't have one like yours, but I can dream....I'd have to be quite wealthy, anyway, in my book, and I'm dirt poor....I'm an LPN....Lo Paid Nurse...LOL
If I was Chuck I might be highly P.O.'d...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-21-2013, 05:34 PM
I Guess Mr Moore would like to hear appoligies from Andy Ayers and the Taiwan Company owner and the builder in Vietnam....how would they even pay back Mr Moore for what they have done.
Yes the frog inlay were copied line to line, makes me wonder if they had the original Uke....even the bird on their Facebook page looks a similiar look...Piracy of ideas no matter what kind in other
business have been dealth very harshly in big corporations... will they get the ukes in question build back and be destroyed and cease and desist copying any more of Mr Moore designs...I hope they
will contact Mr Moore and work out the details....Can you imagine if Mr Moore was Microsoft or Apple.....

You need to realize Stan that this stuff happens all the time. You even come to expect it. I'm certainly not the first one that this sort of thing has happened to nor is this the first time it has happened to me. So what can I do? I've done it already. I've made a portion of the ukulele community aware that this behavior happens. I was notified about 6 months ago from a UU member that they had copied my dragon uke. Then yesterday someone else told be about the frog uke. It was then that I decided to go public with this on this forum. I just don't want this stuff to go on any further. Lots of people have spoken up for me and I sincerely appreciate it. I've made my point and I'm ready to put this to bed hoping that people will do the honorable thing in the future. (haha)
BTW, a fellow member here owns the frog uke. He hasn't been too active for a while though. The dragon uke is in London and therefore the customer is probably unaware of this.
And unlike Apple, at least I've had a few new original ideas in the last couple of years! (Oh, settle down, I'm still an Apple fanboy.) :)

Kanaka916
06-21-2013, 05:52 PM
Chuck, if you feel this thread is at it's limit, let me know and we can lock it.

mm stan
06-21-2013, 06:05 PM
You need to realize Stan that this stuff happens all the time. You even come to expect it. I'm certainly not the first one that this sort of thing has happened to nor is this the first time it has happened to me. So what can I do? I've done it already. I've made a portion of the ukulele community aware that this behavior happens. I was notified about 6 months ago from a UU member that they had copied my dragon uke. Then yesterday someone else told be about the frog uke. It was then that I decided to go public with this on this forum. I just don't want this stuff to go on any further. Lots of people have spoken up for me and I sincerely appreciate it. I've made my point and I'm ready to put this to bed hoping that people will do the honorable thing in the future. (haha)
BTW, a fellow member here owns the frog uke. He hasn't been too active for a while though. The dragon uke is in London and therefore the customer is probably unaware of this.
And unlike Apple, at least I've had a few new original ideas in the last couple of years! (Oh, settle down, I'm still an Apple fanboy.) :)
Aloha Bruddah Chuckie,
Yes I agree you got your point across...and now it is their move....you one real good guy bruddah... :) You like apples too eh, maybe you can have some Uke build workshops :) master sensei

hawaii 50
06-21-2013, 06:10 PM
Aloha Bruddah Chuckie,
Yes I agree you got your point across...and now it is their move....you one real good guy bruddah... :) You like apples too eh, maybe you can have some Uke build workshops :) master sensei



Hey Stan, I would be the first in line to be in Chuck's Ukulele build workshop..

i want to build a Schmollo...with Mastergrade Koa...or Milo,,,,haha

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-21-2013, 06:34 PM
Hey Stan, I would be the first in line to be in Chuck's Ukulele build workshop..

i want to build a Schmollo...with Mastergrade Koa...or Milo,,,,haha

If I built the new line with milo it would be called a Schmilo, not to be confused with the Schmollo.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-21-2013, 06:36 PM
Chuck, if you feel this thread is at it's limit, let me know and we can lock it.

Yeah, I'm over it. Let's fuhgetaboutit already.

Thanks to all of you who contributed with your positive support. I really do appreciate it. Free ukes for everyone! ;)

Dan Uke
06-21-2013, 06:38 PM
And unlike Apple, at least I've had a few new original ideas in the last couple of years! (Oh, settle down, I'm still an Apple fanboy.) :)

Hopefully just a fanboy but not a shareholder...unless you bought it years ago!!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-21-2013, 06:39 PM
Yeah, I'm over it. Let's fuhgetaboutit already.

Thanks to all of you who contributed with your positive support. I really do appreciate it. Free ukes for everyone! ;)

OH no, wait! I meant free beer for everyone. Good night, I'm going to pour myself a tall, cold uke.

consitter
06-21-2013, 06:57 PM
OH no, wait! I meant free beer for everyone. Good night, I'm going to pour myself a tall, cold uke.

I wouldn't take a uke from you even if it was free!



For a dollar.... well that's a whole different thing.

didgeridoo2
06-21-2013, 07:01 PM
OH no, wait! I meant free beer for everyone. Good night, I'm going to pour myself a tall, cold uke.

I happen to be on the mailing list for Ayers and they are also offering free beer this evening.

Sparkle
06-21-2013, 07:15 PM
Well, I always want to do business with people whose only problem is getting caught, but have no problems with copying someone else's work.

That statement is heavily sarcastic. Heavy enough if sarcasm was an atom, it would be have a very special place on the periodic table.

ETA: This comment was written a couple of hours ago and just finished posting now.

1badchef
06-21-2013, 07:22 PM
[QUOTE=OldePhart;1304405]How sad. I think the saddest people though are the poor fools who buy crap like that. I mean, yeah, we'd all like to strangle the Chinese ripoff "artists" who churn out crap like that but at the end of the day people expect them to have no scruples whatsoever - it's been embedded in their culture and fostered by their government for generations now.

So, the ones I find saddest are the poor wanna-be suckers who should know better and should have more scruples but think that they're going to impress somebody by owning that trash. Well, come to that, I guess they will impress us...but not in any positive way.

settle down and put your pitchfork back in your shed - the chinese already had money and a postal system when my ancestors in switzerland clubbed each other to death wearing fur - dragons on instruments are a chinese thing way before any other people used them and are certainly not intellectual property - for example the zither was first mentioned 1200 B.C. in china (hey thats a stringed instrument - could that be the godfather of the uke? from china? of all places?) - I love and respect Moore's design its a stunning piece of work.

mds725
06-21-2013, 09:24 PM
settle down and put your pitchfork back in your shed - the chinese already had money and a postal system when my ancestors in switzerland clubbed each other to death wearing fur - dragons on instruments are a chinese thing way before any other people used them and are certainly not intellectual property - for example the zither was first mentioned 1200 B.C. in china (hey thats a stringed instrument - could that be the godfather of the uke? from china? of all places?) - I love and respect Moore's design its a stunning piece of work.

You may have missed the point, which is not that the ukulele had a dragon on it but that the dragon it did have was virtually identical to the one on Chuck's ukulele. Nobody's complaining that this other company stole the idea of a dragon; what it stole was Chuck's specific dragon artwork. Same with the tree frog headstock. It wasn't the tree frog idea; it's that the tree frog and the other elements of the headstockl are virtually identical to a headstock Chuck designed. The music equivalent: There are many songs that use the same chord progression used in the song "He's So Fine." George Harrison lost a lawsuit alleging that "My Sweet Lord" had ripped off "He's So Fine" not because his was just one of hundreds of songs that used the same chord progression but because he also was found to have used the same melody and song structure.

Kanaka916
06-21-2013, 09:28 PM
I have Chuck's blessings . . . so this thread is Mo Bettah closed.